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OHA Book Center

Te Ata: Oklahoma Cultural Treasure, I Am Oklahoma Children's Series

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By Pati Hailey

Born in 1895 in Indian Territory, Te Ata grew up during a time when Chickasaw children were not allowed to speak their native language in their own schools. They could not tell the stories or play the games of their culture. This was true for the children of many tribes throughout North America.

Te Ata worried the traditions of Native Americans would be lost or forgotten forever. For more than seventy years, she used her acting talent to show people around the world the beauty and wisdom of Native American cultures. She helped changed attitudes toward Native Americans. Oklahoma honored her dedication in two important ways. She is in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. And she was named the first Oklahoma Cultural Treasure.

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